3rd Mar 2022|News|Lettings|

Birmingham Landlords face new selective licensing scheme

Following in the footsteps of neighbouring cities such as Nottingham, Birmingham landlords are set to need £700 licences to rent out property in 25 wards as part of a plan to tackle crime and deprivation. Birmingham City Council’s Cabinet has approved a selective licensing scheme (SLS) which requires landlords to have a licence in certain wards of the city.

Why Is Landlord Licensing Being Introduced?

The five-year scheme is intended to ensure all privately rented properties within the areas meet a “minimum housing standard” which gives tenants “a stable home”. The introduction of selective licensing – permitted to local authorities under the Housing Act 2004 – means that all private rented accommodation that is let or occupied is done so under a licence. The scheme is due to start on June 5th 2023, with the government looking to enforce these regulations starting September 4th 2023 – this gives landlords three months to ensure they are complying with the new licensing scheme.

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It can be considered only under certain conditions – including that areas are experiencing poor property conditions, high levels of migration, high levels of deprivation or high levels of crime. Birmingham City Council is making the application to the Secretary of State for Levelling Up, Housing and Communities – Michael Gove MP – on the basis of crime and deprivation.

ensure that all privately rented properties within the designated area meet a minimum housing standard

Will I Be Impacted By Birmingham Selective Licensing?

The wards set to be involved in the landlord licensing scheme are:

  • Acocks Green
  • Alum Rock
  • Aston
  • Balsall Heath
  • Birchfield
  • Bordesley Green
  • Bordesley and Highgate
  • Bournbrook and Selly Park
  • Edgbaston
  • Gravelly Hill
  • Handsworth
  • Heartlands
  • Holyhead
  • Ladywood
  • Lozells
  • North Edgbaston
  • Small Heath
  • Soho and Jewellery Quarter
  • South Yardley
  • Sparkbrook & Balsall Heath
  • Sparkhill
  • Stockland Green
  • Tyseley and Hay Mills
  • Ward End
  • Yardley West and Stechford

How Expensive Is Birmingham Landlord Licensing?

The fee is proposed to be £700 including £295 for the application fee and £405 for the licence fee. The scheme would cover approximately 50,000 properties – meaning the licence fee would generate an income of £28 million to Birmingham City Council. Anyone who is required to have a licence but does not would face a £30,000 fine.

The report to Cabinet members states that Birmingham’s proposed selective licensing scheme will be the biggest scheme in the UK. It states: “A selective licensing scheme will ensure that all privately rented properties within the designated area meet a minimum housing standard, which gives the tenant a stable home and helps with building stable communities.

“Tenants would be confident that homes meet the minimum energy-saving requirements which would contribute to the green city aspiration. A SLS will also contribute to alleviating fuel poverty as measures to improve standards will ensure that heating appliances are properly checked, maintained and working efficiently.

“Improvements in the housing standards should also make properties more secure which should assist with minimising crime, particularly burglary. We will work with partners to tackle rough sleeping and homelessness. The availability of and living in improved housing conditions should contribute to a reduction in homelessness.”

A consultation on the scheme ran for ten weeks up to January 4, and the results showed only a “minority” of landlords/agents agree that a selective licensing scheme would address crime and deprivation – though the majority of other parties agreed it would.

One respondent said: “The council misjudges selective licensing as a tool to reduce home burglary, as selective licensing is designed to address property conditions, not burglary. Should the council wish to address this issue, there are alternatives such as offering grants to tenants for home security improvements and strengthening community ties with police and voluntary organisations.”

As part of its response to concerns raised in the consultation, the council said: “Selective licensing works in unison with other strategies and with partners such as West Midlands Police to address issues at a neighbourhood level in a holistic manner. Selective licensing will enhance the community safety partnership response.”